Weight Training: 7 Health Benefits & How to Start

Updated in March 2024

Weight training encompasses strength and resistance exercises, which can offer several health benefits like improving physical conditioning, boosting metabolism, reducing fat, improving posture and optimizing cardiorespiratory capacity. It can be done with equipment, such as bars, pulleys and dumbbells, for example.

Weight training is often associated with cosmetic benefits, such as weight loss and muscle mass gain. However, this type of activity is also capable of promoting a feeling of well-being and can be considered an ally in the treatment of stress, anxiety and depression.

It is important that before starting to weight train, you should see your doctor for an overall health assessment. Your first sessions should also be monitored by a  physical education professional to ensure that the movements are being performed correctly and to prevent injuries.

Man doing weight training with a barbell

Health benefits

The main health benefits of weight training are:

1. Improving body posture

Weight training strengthens the muscles that support the spine, which can improve posture and back pain.

2. Reducing the amount of fat

Regular and committed weight training, accompanied by a healthy diet, will lead to increased fat burning and increased muscle mass. This will boost metabolism and promote caloric expenditure, even when you are standing still.

Fat loss, in addition to leading to cosmetic benefits, can increase your self-esteem and prevent several diseases, such as obesity and atherosclerosis.

3. Toning your muscles

Muscle toning is one of the visible results of strength training. Toning occurs due to fat loss and increased muscle mass, which reduces the appearance of cellulite.

To  see muscle gains, you should be sure to drink plenty of water and maintain a balanced diet. Check-out muscle-building foods you can add to your diet.

4. Managing emotions

Weight training can promote the release of endorphins, which is a hormone responsible for the feeling of well-being. Therefore, weight training can be a great option for relieving stress, reducing anxiety and even combating depression.

5. Increasing bone density

Weight training increases bone density, which makes bones more resistant. This reduces the risk for fractures and osteoporosis, which is more common in older people and menopausal women. However, for bones to be truly strengthened, weight training should be accompanied by a healthy, balanced diet made up of foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. 

Also recommended: Vitamin D Foods: Food List, Dose & Supplements tuasaude.com/en/foods-high-in-vitamin-d

6. Reducing the risk of diabetes

Weight training can reduce the risk of diabetes because the body is prompted to use circulating glucose as a source of energy. Sugar that is found in excess in the blood starts can be stored in the form of glycogen, which can be used in other metabolic processes. 

7. Improving cardiorespiratory fitness

The more intense the weight training, the greater the demand on the heart. This can ensure greater cardiac and respiratory conditioning. This can regulate blood pressure and, consequently, reduce the risk of heart diseases, such as atherosclerosis.

How to start

To start weight training and to ensure you obtain all its benefits, some recommendations include:

  • Complete heart testing, especially if you are sedentary and/or those who have a history of heart disease. This will allow the doctor to determine whether weight training is safe and what intensity is most appropriate;
  • Complete a fitness assessment to assess body composition, strength level, flexibility and cardiorespiratory capacity. Thus, the physical education professional can recommend training that helps achieve the person's goal, be it losing weight, gaining muscle mass or gaining more resistance, for example;
  • Have your first workouts guided by a personal trainer, especially if you are new to this type of activity, so that you can learn the proper posture and reduce the risk for injury
  • Perform around 2 to 3 workouts per week, with a 1-day break between training days to promote muscle recovery. Those training at  an intermediate and advanced level, can increase the frequency and intensity of workouts

To guarantee results, in addition to maintaining regular workouts, you should also be monitored by a registered dietitian who can outline  a healthy, balanced eating plan in accordance with your goals. You should also get plenty of sleep, water and rest.